By Helen Cross

Last year Kilduff Farm in the heart of East Lothian added another string to its bow, opening a new pumpkin patch. This year the patch returns, but the Calder family have introduced a dedicated culinary pumpkin patch. We put Lucy Calder under the spotlight to chat all things pumpkins, future plans as well as her dream dinner party guest line up, which would be quite the gathering!

1. Who is in the team?

Myself and Russel and our children Maisie, Louisa and Charlie. And lots of other helping hands!

2. Three words to describe Kilduff Farm?

Family – Kilduff Farm is truly a family affair and The Patch is all about our children getting involved in farming life at a young age and understanding the dedication and commitment that goes into running a farm. We rely on friends and family helping on The Patch throughout the year too – our staff range from 3 to 73 in age!

Tidy – If asked to describe Kilduff many would use the word ‘tidy’ and I suppose it is surprisingly so. It always has been. As a farmer you really are just custodians of the land and we believe that it’s our job to take care of it for future generations. It doesn’t work for everyone but keeping on top of things and keeping the place tidy helps us manage the mental load that comes with farming life.

Progressive – We often joke that it would be helpful to be able to turn Russell’s brain into hibernation mode. There is always some new idea ticking away in his head. In the last 10 years we have introduced a holiday cottage, residential properties, commercial properties for Hidden Beauty and Fidra Gin and now a pumpkin farming arm. Farming must respond to modern pressures and diversification is vital to the longevity of many farming businesses, but we want to make sure whatever we do fits into the ethos behind Kilduff.

3. Tell us a bit about what you strive to do?

We are focused on producing and supplying high quality sustainable produce. Whether it is wheat to the grain market, or culinary pumpkins to local consumers, we are passionate about what we grow.

4. Where did the decision come from to diversify?

Our decision to grow pumpkins came from a simple desire to involve our 3 young children in daily farming. Kilduff is traditionally an arable farm with big machinery and little scope for children to be involved. The Patch allows them to be involved in every step of the process, from choosing which varieties to grow, to planting the seeds, to planning and then working on The Patch when it opens to the public. It has been a fantastic way to work together and have fun!

5. What has been the greatest challenge?

Weather will always be a challenge in farming in Scotland. We had a particularly lovely summer in 2018 which was ideal for growing our crops, particularly the pumpkins. 2019 has been much colder and wetter which has made growing conditions trickier. You could (and sometimes do) get bogged down by the weather but you really must try to embrace it. And not check the forecast too often!

6. What has been your greatest achievement?

Opening the gates to the Patch to the public in 2018 and watching our family working together and having fun has been a highlight.

Being awarded the accolade for growing the Best Crop of Field Beans in 2017 was a welcome acknowledgement of the hard work Russell puts into our crops. He is now affectionately known as ‘Mr Bean’, which is perhaps not as welcome!

7. What is your current big development you are focussing on?

This year we have introduced a dedicated culinary pumpkin patch at Kilduff. Pumpkins are underused and underrated but are undoubtedly a superfood – the list of nutritional benefits are long. We are really trying to promote and spread the love of culinary pumpkins to consumers across East Lothian, Edinburgh and hopefully, eventually, Scotland.

8. Where do you see Scotland’s food and drink industry going in the next five years?

Local and sustainable. We must get back to using what we have on our doorstep and promoting and supporting all the wonderful producers and produce we have in Scotland.

9. What five local products can we find in your kitchen?

Brands Family Larder Eggs

Fidra Gin

Mungoswells Malt & Milling Flour

Scottish Bee Company Honey

Yester Dairy Luxury Soft Cheese

10. What would you cook your dream dinner party guests?

Something simple so that I’m not stuck in the kitchen missing all the fun. I love cooking but dinner parties for me are about spending time with special people rather than serving fancy food! Delicious Magazine has a lovely recipe for Pumpkin, Lamb and Feta tray roast this month – a simple recipe which would use some of our culinary pumpkins and Brands Larder Lamb. My mother in law makes delicious chocolate and pumpkin seed brownies so I would serve them with S Luca Vanilla ice cream and seasonal berries for pudding. A cheese board from The Cheese Lady in Haddington with coffee and Katy Cloud Marshmallows would finish it off nicely.

11. Who would be invited to your dream dinner party?

Our dining table would have to be extendable – Doddie Weir, JK Rowling, Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney, Michelle Obama, Bear Grylls, Dame Judy Dench, Derren Brown, Nelson Mandela and Coco Chanel.

Recipe of the month...

Making the most of the UK’s fig season, Scottish cook and food writer Rebecca Gerrard shares this simple but beautiful autumnal tart recipe. The perfect combination of sweet and savoury; soft honeyed figs, caramelised balsamic onions and tangy tallegio cheese on crispy puff pastry. You’ll find figs readily available in the Autumn months in your local greengrocers and farm shops.


1 red onion (finely sliced)
1 small fennel bulb (finely sliced)
1/2 packet puff pastry (rolled thinly)
4 figs (cut into quarters)
100g Tallegio cheese 
Handful of pine nuts 
Handful of fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp caster sugar 
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add sliced red onion and fennel. Stir continuously and add salt/pepper to season.
  • Add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 tsp of caster sugar to the pot and continue to cook on a low heat till softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Line a baking tray with foil or baking parchment and lay out the pre-rolled puff pastry.
  • Transfer the balsamic onion mix on top of the pastry and spread evenly.
  • Cut rough chunks of the tallegio cheese and place on top along with the quartered figs.
  • Scatter the chopped parsley and pine nuts on top before baking in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are golden in colour and crispy to touch.
  • Serve slices of the tart hot with a simple green salad.

Instagram: @rebeccacooks_

Kitchen cupboard necessities...

The caffeine hit...

Professional rugby players Damien Hoyland and Stuart McInally, are very passionate about coffee and also wanted a hobby outside of rugby. As a result they fell in love with small-batch coffee roasting and with the help of events supremo Chloé Gilchrist Ruck Coffee was born. Creating good quality coffee beans the team will deliver its fresh special blends straight to your door and they now also stock beautiful reusable coffee cups.

Your meat needs delivered...

If you want to get organised for Christmas and ensure you are well stocked on the beef and lamb front to see you through the festive season, then look no further than Native and Wild Meat Boxes from Saughland Farm Midlothian. Get delicious grass fed beef and cuts that you wouldn’t normally get from your butcher delivered straight to your door. Place your order by emailing

The Cook Book...

Thinking about what to cook on a daily basis can get incredibly tedious, especially for parents who want to keep a healthy variety in the family meals but always resort to the same old repertoire week in week out. “I just can’t think what to cook today.” Is a phrase that Claire Thomson hears a great deal and so she decided to use her next book to do something to tackle this every day cooking problem.

Using her passion for food and her first-hand knowledge of world cooking, she has written a book of recipes that – like a new piece of clothing – will refresh your wardrobe of old favourites and give new colour and excitement to your mid-week meals. In New Kitchen Basics, Claire takes our ten favourite staples and reinvents them as modern classics. Simple yet imaginative, this book will become a staple in every kitchen. Mealtimes will become a whole lot more colourful and far more delicious than ever before. (New Kitchen Basics, Published by Quadrille, £25.00)